Life is strange right now. But the isolation and huge disruptions to normal life are temporary. There is a light at the end of the tunnel (and no, it’s not a train).
One thing that has really helped me keep my perspective is to keep a humor journal. Every day I write at least one funny thing that happened that day. Sometimes the entry is just “I forgot to do the laundry again.” Sometimes I ask someone in my family if they can remember something funny. Watching for the humor helps. Rereading the entries is even better. Here are a few of the entries in my humor journal:
Yesterday, the school told us it will be online school in the fall. It will be quality education, they reassured us. Not like in the spring, they added.
As I was leaving the house to go grocery shopping, the kids were still calling after me the things they thought I should buy. “Is syrup on the list?” “I need shampoo and conditioner.” I think the list grew by 35% or so in the hour before I left.
I woke up and wanted to go right back to bed. I spent all day fantasizing about taking a nap. I’ll probably stay up late reading.
Our neighbor got a new mailbox, bigger than ours. Our mailbox used to be the biggest on the row. “Do we need to get a bigger mailbox?” I joked. My husband laughed. “Can you imagine escalating that until we’re getting our mail delivered to tree houses?” he asked.
My oldest child: Who has the dishes?
Me: You do.
My oldest child: But I did the dishes a few days ago!
Me: And it’s your turn again.
Adulthood: Finally realizing that chores are never ever truly done.
I’d love to hear some funny moments from your life! Please share them in the comments. And, if you have any questions about keeping a humor journal, please ask!
Jones and Mrs. Smith were leaving the grocery store at the same time
one day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. Everything
seemed wonderful. The two neighbors smiled widely at each other.
“It’s so good to see you,” Mrs. Jones said.
been such a long time since we last talked,” Mrs. Smith said. “How
are you doing?”
doing well. I just harvested the last of my pears,” Mrs. Jones
said. “How have you been?”
I do love pears,” Mrs. Smith said. “I’ve been fine. I started
singing in the community choir. You should come.”
don’t sing, but let me know when your next performance is, and I’ll
come cheer you on,” Mrs. Jones said.
then, the handle of her grocery bag broke, and a cabbage, three
carrots, and a can of beans fell out and started to roll away.
Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Jones chased after the escaping groceries.
carrots hadn’t gone far. Mrs. Jones scooped them up and put them in
another bag. She crouched to fish the cabbage out from under a
car. When she straightened up and put the cabbage securely away, Mrs.
Smith was returning with the can of beans.
almost went into the storm drain,” Mrs. Smith said. “I caught
them just in time.”
you so much,” Mrs. Jones said.
mention it,” Mrs. Smith said.
better get my groceries home before something else happens,” Mrs.
course. I’ll see you later,” Mrs. Smith said.
the ladies went home and put their groceries away. That
evening, Mrs. Jones brought Mrs. Smith a pear cobbler. “It’s to
thank you for helping me with my groceries,” she said.
you so much,” Mrs. Smith said.
welcome,” Mrs. Jones said.
few days later, Mrs. Smith returned Mrs. Jones’s pan. She
put some cookies inside the pan. “I made you some cookies to
thank you for the cobbler,” she said.
you so much,” Mrs. Jones said.
welcome,” Mrs. Smith said.
few days later, Mrs. Jones stopped by to visit Mrs. Smith. She
brought a bag of peppermints. “Thank you for the cookies,” she
said. “They were delightful.”
you for the peppermints,” Mrs. Smith said. “They’re my
few days later, Mrs. Smith visited Mrs. Jones. “No more
sweets, please,” Mrs. Jones said. “I’ve eaten far too much
sugar this week.”
Smith laughed. “Me, too. I don’t have any sweets. Just a flyer
for my choir concert. I hope you can come.”
Jones smiled. “I’d love to! Thank you.”
so glad,” Mrs. Smith said. She handed Mrs. Jones the flyer. “Oh,
and a thank you card,” she said. She handed Mrs. Jones a card. “For
the peppermints. Well, I’ll see you later.” She left, feeling
certain she had won.
days later, Mrs. Smith was retrieving her mail from the mailbox. She
sorted through the bills and advertisements. “Oh, look, this one’s
from Mrs. Jones.” She opened it. It was a lovely handmade card.
“Thank you for the thank you card,” it said.
was the middle of the night. A surprise rainstorm filled the room
with the soothing sound of rain pitter-pattering on the window, like
the sound of distant fairy drums. The light was dim, despite the
snuggled back into the covers and closed his eyes. Unfortunately,
somehow sleep seemed just out of reach. He couldn’t recapture the
edges of his dreams. The more he tried, the less he could remember
and the more awake he felt.
sighed and slid his feet into his slippers. Maybe he could make
himself a nice cup of cocoa and sit in the living room and watch the
rain for a bit. He walked quietly down the hall, pausing at
Charlie’s door to hear his even breathing.
the kitchen doorway, he paused. Just above the quiet drumming of the
rain, he could hear an odd murmuring. He peeked inside the kitchen,
but couldn’t see anyone there. Maybe he was imagining the voices.
stepped into the kitchen. The voices sounded louder. Another step,
and he could understand some of the words. It was difficult, as the
voices spoke at once, stacked on top of each other.
just saying that after the dish ran away with the spoon, they lived
happily ever after. Who doesn’t want that?”
you see the mug that lost his handle? It’s dangerous living here.
Last week, a measuring spoon got caught in the garbage disposal for a
second time. He’ll never be the same.”
“But it’s safer here. Dishes that wander around in the wild face dangers on every side. There’s no dishwasher in the deep woods, my friends.”
can’t we get packed away like the good china? They spend their days
chatting and meditating in their own top-of-the-shelf retreat. What
makes them special? They should take their chances in the cupboards
like the rest of us.”
fine for the silverware to go adventuring. They’re stainless steel –
then there was a whistling sound that tore through the chatter. Was
that the kettle? As the whistling died out, the kitchen was silent
again, except for the sound of the rain hitting the kitchen window.
believe we should vote on it,” said a quiet voice that seemed to
echo through the kitchen. “Do we stay here, where the challenges
are known, and we are mostly treated with respect? Here we have
places to live, friends nearby, and the joys of dish soap and running
if we leave, we are heading into the unknown. There is risk for
uncertain rewards. Perhaps we’ll live happily ever after in some
hidden hot spring dish-and-spoon utopia where no one is chipped or
caught in the garbage disposal. Or we may be dashed to pieces as
soon as we hit the sidewalk. There are no guarantees. Stay or go,
we’ll decide together. Weigh the risks, and we’ll vote.”
was silence for a time. Isaac was nervous. Would he have to buy all
new dishes and silverware in the morning? How much would that cost?
How would he explain it to Marianne and Charlie? Charlie hadn’t
meant to drop the mug. How could it have led to this? Or would this
have happened anyway? Were they doomed to a lifetime of paper plates
and plastic forks after each new set of dishes left?
is time. Do we go? Ayes?”
few voices called out “Aye!”.
voices yelled “Nay!” There was some grumbling, but the voices
is it then. We are decided, for now. We can revisit this in a
voices stopped. The rain sounded loud in the quiet kitchen. Isaac
wasn’t sure whether it would be all right to go in. What if the
dishes found out he’d listened in on their discussion? Would they be
last, he went in and carefully made himself a cup of cocoa, handling
the dishes much more carefully than usual. He cleaned up after
himself and went to the living room to watch the rain. Watching the
rain and sipping cocoa was always soothing.
looked at his mug as he set it on the side table. He was glad the
dishes had decided to stay. From now on, he’d take better care of
them. He wondered if the furniture ever voted on leaving. He looked
around. It wasn’t good to take anything for granted.
he should take better care of everything that was his. It seemed
like a good plan. He’d tell Charlie and Marianne in the morning.
For now, he’d watch the rain for just a little longer. He was
already feeling sleepy again. It would be nice to get a little more
Once there was a little red robot who was in charge of coordinating the efforts of all the kitchen appliances. One day, the robot was checking the calendar and was thrilled to find a dinner party scheduled for that very day. This meant that there would be lots of work to do, but the robot liked work, so this made him very happy.
He stood in the center of the kitchen and displayed the calendar on his view screen. “There is a dinner party today,” he announced to the appliances. “There will be a lot of work to do. Who will help me?” No one replied.
The robot wasn’t concerned. It was up to him to break up an important job like this into smaller tasks, after all, so that each appliance knew which was its part. The robot looked around the kitchen as he thought through what needed to be done.
“There are dirty dishes in the sink. We can’t start cooking when there are dirty dishes. Dishwasher, will you wash the dishes?”
“Not today. I washed two loads yesterday, so I’m due a day off,” the dishwasher rumbled.
“Then I’ll do it myself,” said the little red robot. And he did. He only broke three plates, which didn’t seem too bad.
The dishwasher didn’t agree. “Three plates? They’re going to blame me for that. I’ll be sent away and replaced by a newer dishwasher.”
“But there are lots of plates,” the robot protested.
“That’s because I don’t break them! If I broke plates every time I washed dishes, then they’d be gone in two weeks or less.”
The little red robot had to admit that the dishwasher had a point. But there wasn’t time to discuss abstract philosophy. There was a dinner party to prepare for. The robot went through his mental list.
“Now it’s time to choose a menu. Cookbook database, can you choose a recipe that would be good for a dinner party?”
The cookbook beeped. “All our recipes are good. Make them all.”
“There isn’t time for that,” the little red robot said firmly. “I’ll choose one myself.” He entered a few random letters and picked the top entry. “Pickle relish…” he did another search, “…and steel cut oats.” The robot thought for a moment. “There should probably be some kind of protein. I’ll boil eggs. I don’t need a recipe for that.”
The cookbook blinked its red lights and beeped repeatedly. “Those aren’t dinner party foods. They don’t even go together. I’ll be completely replaced if they serve something like that at the party. Here, take this…” It printed out a few recipes and went blank.
“We will need ingredients, refrigerator…” he began
The refrigerator opened a door just wide enough to shove the necessary ingredients out. “Don’t come any closer,” it said. “I’m functioning perfectly well, and I’d like to stay that way.”
“Good point,” the oven said. “I’ll have no burnt dinners, thank you very much. Pass me the ingredients and step back.”
The robot turned around to find the cupboards and table busy with the place settings. The door was cycling through possible greeting protocols. The little robot was happy to see that he was doing a tremendous job coordinating the efforts of the kitchen appliances.
Unfortunately, he did so well that he worked himself out of a job. It had been kind of thrilling when he thought he could do all the work of the dinner party himself. And if a guest hadn’t shown up, maybe he could have done their job too. He imagined entertaining everyone with talk about the current weather reports and common health ailments.
Alas, it wasn’t too be. The guests all arrived, and the party went smoothly. The little red robot watched from the shadows, before leaving quietly. There was nothing more to do here. However, he had looked out the back window earlier, and the garden could maybe use a little work.
Was nobody coordinating the efforts of the garden tools? He checked the calendar. In the morning he slipped out the back door and hurried over to the garden shed. “There is a barbecue scheduled in two days. Barbecues are a type of cooking, so I am coordinating efforts so that it all goes well. Lawn mower, will you mow the lawn tomorrow at ten o’clock?”
“It’s too sunny today,” the lawn mower said. “I think I might be overheating.”
“Then I’ll cut the grass myself,” said the little red robot. And so it began.
Two days later, the lawn was slightly bald in places and a few of the rosebushes were over-trimmed, but the barbecue went well. The garden tools had learned to work together, and the little red robot had worked himself out of another job. He didn’t mind too much. There was a slumber party on the calendar, and the bedrooms weren’t as clean as they should be. There was work to do!
It was a sunny day after several days of gray skies and rain. Marianne and Charlie woke up early and checked their list twice. They left for the garden center, the nice one two towns over, before Isaac had finished eating his cereal. They wouldn’t be home until after lunch.